Circle of Shadows was this month’s Unbreakable Bond Mystery Book in January’s Fairyloot box . It just so happens it’s one of my most anticipated reads for 2019. So you can imagine I was pretty pleased to find it at the bottom of my subscription box.
Circle of Shadows follows two apprentice Warriors of the Society of Taigas, Sora and Daemon who, live in a kingdom of peace. As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy, But in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.
The pair are sent out on a routine scouting mission as part of their graduation, where they discover a band of mysterious soldiers.
As reckless apprentices, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora and Daemon’s life forever—and lead on a mission of deception, betrayal and mysterious magic.
Every month Fairyloot runs a Readalong using the book from the current month’s subscription box. This was my first month participating in a Readalong and I really enjoyed it. It makes a huge difference reading along with other people, and adds more to the experience of reading. Discussing the events and the characters with others made a much more enjoyable experience. Having a reading schedule was definitely a change too, limiting myself to a few chapters a day helped spread out the story. I didn’t feel like I was getting bored with the writing at any point which I find can happen when you spend too much time reading one book.
I’ll definitely be taking part with more in the future. Thanks for the readalong Fairyloot!
Cloak of Night, Heart of Light
I don’t know where to begin with this book. It was originally one of my most anticipated reads for 2019, but in hindsight I’m not sure I’d add it to the list. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy reading it, because I did. There’s just a lot that didn’t sit well at the same time.
Circle of Shadows feels a little lacking in the development. It almost feels like a first draft, without any further editing or polishing. The world is very basic and loosely built. There’s not a lot of description into the kingdom or its history. Which is a shame because the idea of deities shaping the kingdom is very interesting. The Blood Rift isn’t really spoken of, or in any detail, despite it’s supposedly being a major horrific event in the Kingdom’s history.
The Magic in this world doesn’t feel well thought out, and is another factor that is underdeveloped. The Taiga’s magic has a very primitive and thoughtless feel to it; the character seem to say what they want 3 times and BOOM it happens i.e. Eyes of a hawk, eyes of a hawk, eyes of a hawk. In comparison, the villainous Magic of the Ryuu feels a little more put together and involved.
The Characters feel very surface level and their personalities flick and change about seemingly without cause. One minute, Sora is a known troublemaker, then next she want nothing more than to become the best Taiga ever and gives up her rowdy behaviour. And don’t get me started on Daemon’s love interest in the final chapters! Skye doesn’t seem to delve very deep with her character’s emotions and motivations, so the characters feel very 2D and underdeveloped.
Towards the end of the book I found I was skim reading without realising it, and I don’t feel like I missed out on too much. The ending was a little disappointing and ambiguous – feeling a little bit like lazy writing, just your standard characters fly off and regroup scenario.
Work Hard, Mischief Harder
As I said, I did however ultimately enjoy this book even with the shallowly built world and disappointing ending. The language used is simple to read and visualise, and the chapters are short and quick. Making progression through this book quick and painless, perfect for a lazy evening read. Circle of Shadows is definitely a lower level of reading to what I’m used to. It makes for the perfect book to introduce younger teens to fantasy fiction.
There were parts of the storyline I found interesting, that would be great if Skye goes into more detail for the sequel. More specifically the gemina bond that’s shared between pairs of Taiga is a fascinating twist to friendship bonds. I also really loved the idea of deities shaping the world, harking back to Trudi Canavan’s amazing Age of Five series.
I will be reading the sequel to Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye when it eventually comes out. Mostly so I can find out if Daemon sorts out his love life because that just ticked me off.